Thursday, April 14, 2011


This is something I wrote in September as the reality of losing our lives in North Carolina began to balloon.

The photo of Siri and Bella happily exhausted after play on our red comforter at the duplex is in storage. So is the folder packed with growth milestones and tiny hospital footprints and leftover shower invitations. Our tiny Buddy Christ action figure. My still muddy wedding dress. The envelopes containing the girls first cut locks of white blonde hair.

I walk the quiet hallway, surrounded by freshly painted off-white walls and bright white trim. Chuckle because Chris can’t help but be tickled every time we use that word: trim.

Our shampoos and toothbrushes are neatly hidden in caddies on bedroom closet shelf. All the other closets in our home are empty, except for a handful of toys, the girls’ play kitchen in their closet.

Our life is transitory.

We are mid-move from this cobbled North Carolina beach town, the only home our children have ever known, back to Richmond, a question, a city that lives mainly in our best memories of it and the people we love who call it home.

No job or freshly-cut keys await us at the end of the caravan. – Just a maybe, a small confidence.

This is my eulogy to Wilmington, to the life we worked so hard to build here. To the tiny loggerhead turtles Chris and I watched boil from the Wrightsville sand and trickle to the ocean at dusk.

To the dog park we built with a few committed people. To the tropical storm tussled pines and delicate altheas at the house where we believed might not fuck up parenting any more than the next hopeful couple. To Tess. To the one bedroom garage apartment whose stairs I climbed each day as my belly swelled to make my steps heavier and my balance more precarious. To pork tenderloin on the grill and the bacon-egg-and-cheese bagels Chris had waiting for me after so many overnight shifts. To the quilt that Chris’s grandma pieced – the one we spread out on the living room floor and peppered with bright, musical objects, coaxing our tiny twins to lift their heads, strengthen their arms, and roll their baby bodies over. To our patio garden with the lemon cucumbers that snaked down the backyard banister.
To that day Chris and I floated out beyond the breakers in the most perfect stillness. To stars raining over the south end. To all the women who helped me become a mother and keep myself. To Sunday coffee and vomit with Christa. To wine walks with Katy. To breastfeeding among the tall cool pines at Hugh Macrae. To giving Herbie a place to stretch his toes. To desodding our garden plot by flashlight. To our repurposed chicken coop. To cooking and conversation at our bar. To Siri and her soccer ball. To many beers at many fires with a handful of true friends.

It’s a eulogy because I feel the painful tug of the people I love in this place on my soul. This time is past. And the next has not become yet.

When I think of Richmond, I think of Belle Island on our bikes in the rain, and of Bella and Siri chasing bubbles in the James. I know we left for a reason, but that we’re going back for so many others. It will be a different place than the one we left, or we are other people than those who drove away, as are those we left behind.

I don’t yet know how this will be. We hope to sell this house, in a poor market, at a dismal time. I plan to give my employer adequate notice, and trust for her understanding when I leave. The self-imposed hush is distressing. If we must leave under foreclosure, without positive job reference, we will figure it out, as we always have.

Into the car our rag-tag crew: three sweet dogs, three anxious cats, two excited little girls, my best friend and me, and the car door will latch with a thud.

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